The UK is to announce a full-scale ban on Hamas, ending a distinction between its political and military wings.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is poised to add the Palestinian group to a list of banned terrorist organisations.

It makes it a criminal offence to belong to the group, express support for it, help arrange its meetings or display its banners in public, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison for convicted supporters.

Patel, who is on a trip to Washington, said the move was “based upon a wide range of intelligence, information and also links to terrorism”.

“The severity of that speaks for itself,” she said, calling Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic”, adding prescription was required to protect the Jewish community.

Hamas’s military wing was banned in 2001. But in a speech in the US, Ms Patel is expected to say that Britain can no longer treat its political arm differently, according to details briefed to UK media.

The move would bring Britain into line with the United States, Israel and the European Union, which all designate Gaza-based Hamas as a terrorist organization. Until now, Britain has banned only its military wing — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed reports of the decision. In a Twitter post, he said “Hamas is a terrorist organization, simply put.”

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